In this video, Professor Christian Bueger (University of Copenhagen) presents the insights of a research project from the SafeSeas network. The presentation builds on a study of capacity building to fight piracy in the Western Indian Ocean.
Transnational organised crime at sea is a growing international concern. However, and despite its importance, the concept remains uncertain and contested. This ambiguity has led to a tendency to focus on individual challenges such as piracy or illegal fishing, rather than convergencies and synergies between and across issues, and has stymied a concerted international policy response. Debate continues over the term itself, what illicit activities it incorporates and excludes, and how these can be meaningfully conceptualised in ways that both recognise the diverse nature of the concept yet also provide a basis for an integrated response to the challenges it presents. In this paper, we address this lacuna by providing a systemic conceptualisation and analysis of transnational organised crime at sea. Our goal is to provide a firm basis for future enquiries on the different types of blue crime, to trace their distinct characteristics and identify how they intersect, and to consider what kinds of synergies can be built to respond to them. In so doing, we organise the nascent academic and policy discourse on blue criminology and maritime security to provide a new framework for navigating this complex issue for practitioners and analysts alike.
This chapter provides first a discussion of how maritime security has been conceptualized and theorized and how the field has evolved. It discusses the more particular debates on dedicated maritime security issues: piracy, terrorism, smuggling, environmental crimes and the protection of critical maritime infrastructure. Although the oceans have featured occasionally in the literature on security, peace and development, it is fair to say that for decades scholars were suffering from what some have referred to as collective ‘seablindness’. A range of maritime insecurities have been extensively analysed. These include piracy; terrorism; various forms of smuggling; environmental crimes, hereunder illegal fishing; as well as a nascent literature on maritime critical infrastructures. With ongoing crises in different parts of the world’s oceans, maritime insecurity will continue to be recognized as one of the core dimensions of violence and insecurity. Maritime security also needs to be seen in the context of other international policy areas.